Rutherford B. Hayes
[An excerpt from the diary of Rutherford B. Hayes,
former President of the United States, 4 December, 1887]
In church it occurred to me that it is time for the public to hear
that the giant evil and danger in this country, the danger which
transcends all others, is the vast wealth owned or controlled by a few
persons. Money is power. In Congress, in state legislatures, in city
councils, in the courts, in the political conventions, in the press,
in the pulpit, in the circles of the educated and the talented, its
influence is growing greater and greater. Excessive wealth in the
hands of the few means extreme poverty, ignorance, vice, and
wretchedness as the lot of the many. It is not yet time to debate
about the remedy. The previous question is as to the danger--the evil.
Let the people be fully informed and convinced as to the evil. Let
them earnestly seek the remedy and it will be found.
Fully to know the evil is the first step towards reaching its
eradication. Henry George is strong when he portrays the rottenness of
the present system. We are, to say the least, not yet ready for his
remedy. We may reach and remove the difficulty by changes in the laws
regulating corporations, descents of property, wills, trusts,
taxation, and a host of other important interests, not omitting lands
and other property.